The Federal Government says it will shut down the land border between Nigeria and a neighbouring country in a few days time to avoid smuggling of foreign rice into the country .
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development , Audu Ogbeh , made the disclosure in Abuja on Monday while speaking with youths in a leadership clinic under the auspices of Guardians of the Nation International.
Ogbeh who did not mention the particular country and border , said that shutting the borders had become necessary to encourage local production and sustain the economy of the country .
The minister said that a neighbouring country was bent on destroying the economy of the country and discouraging local production of rice , hence the need to shut down the border .
“Our other problem is smuggling . As we speak , a neighbour of ours is importing more rice than China is importing .
“They do not eat parboiled rice , they eat white rice , they use their ports to try and damage our economy .
“I am telling you now because in a few days , you will hear the border has been shut , we are going to shut it to protect you, us and protect our economy .
“You will start seeing all sorts of negative things on the internet .
“Let me tell you why we need to shut the border , I grow rice , I was the first Nigerian to mill rice free of stones , if you plant rice in certain parcels of land , some poisonous materials get into the rice .
“There are three kinds of water in their natural state ; there is fresh water from the river , salt water from the sea , blackish water .
“If you go to the Delta in many countries, in South East Asia where they grow the rice , if you plant rice in the same place like four to six years continuously , the quantum of arsenic begins to increase and arsenic causes cancer and that is what they are dumping for us .
READ ALSO : Three dead , 200 injured as strong quake jolts Japan ’s Osaka
“Some people say they prefer Thai rice because they are very sophisticated, welcome to poison ,’’ Ogbeh said .